LABI luncheon speaker: ‘Un-market’ your business

UnMarketing President Scott Stratten. Submitted photo.

Want to attract, retain and persuade customers? For starters, remove all pre-existing ideas about those customers, a Canadian-based sales expert told attendees of LABI’s annual meeting.

During his luncheon keynote, UnMarketing President Scott Stratten challenged traditional business outreach methods, putting the focus of marketing back on relationships and service.

“When you see a logo, you think of your most recent experience with that brand, your most extreme experience with that brand, or one you’ve heard about,” Stratten said. “What you think of that brand is the brand.”

Perhaps the best example is Ritz-Carlton, which “un-branded” itself when a child left his stuffed giraffe in his Florida hotel room. The laundry attendant and front desk clerk who noticed the toy giraffe took posed photos of the giraffe on an “extended vacation,” sent them to the child’s family, and then overnight shipped the toy back to the family at no additional charge.

“Those two employees changed a billion-dollar brand’s logo from a lion to a giraffe that day,” Stratten said.

How a business connects with a customer requires the business to “un-market” to its customers, removing its stereotypes and prejudices about them and instead focus on building meaningful relationships with them. This usually manifests itself as age discrimination, he said, which often involves Gen Xers and baby boomers resisting the disruption caused by millennials.

But disruption is a natural part of progress, said Stratten, himself a member of Gen X. Plus, when customers feel they aren’t being heard, they branch off and create competition, as were the cases with AirBnB and Warby Parker.

“If you take younger people, who are used to disruption, and pair it with wisdom from older generations, we should be unstoppable,” Stratten said. “Somebody having your back, regardless of age, is an endearing quality.”

Check out this morning’s keynote, where pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson discussed how to galvanize the next generation of voters.

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